The top IMF job comes up again
Back when Dominique Strauss-Kahn first put himself in the running for the managing director job of the IMF, I said this:
One point in his favor: he’s utterly failed to become president of France, so he’s not going to pull a Horst Köhler and quit to become president of his own country.
It seems I might have spoken too soon:
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French politician who heads the International Monetary Fund, said on Thursday he might cut short his mandate, stoking speculation that he wants to run in France’s 2012 presidential election.
His term as managing director of the IMF expires in October 2012, several months after the election, which means the Socialist veteran would have to quit ahead of time if he wanted to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy at the ballot box.
Clearly DSK doesn’t feel much gratitude towards Sarkozy for getting him the job in the first place. But if this does happen, the Europeans really don’t seem to be doing a very good job with the position: both Köhler and Strauss-Kahn clearly consider it inferior to the national presidency, while Rodrigo Rato, who held the post briefly in between them, quit for mysterious “personal reasons”.
Is this a job which we really want to give to Gordon Brown, who certainly would love it? The answer I think is no. It’s long past time that a non-European held the position; maybe, after living in Paris for the past few years, Angel Gurría counts as being French enough to get the support of at least a few European countries.
Gurría is highly qualified for the job, but I think the main thing now is to set an important precedent and just appoint anybody who isn’t European. Strauss-Kahn himself has told the Brazilian president that he wants to change the selection process for his job. If it ends up going to another European, he’ll have failed.